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Thread: Long Lenses

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    Long Lenses

    Over the weekend I got the opportunity to spend some valuable time with arthurking83. Apart from learning a large amount about landscape photography, we also talked about cameras and lenses.
    Arthur was interested in my Sigma 150-500mm APO OS lens, and was impressed how well it preformed.
    I was also talking to I @ M who said that any lens is only good for reasonably close shots.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts on long lenses, and give some examples. And also if you use a tripod or hand held with them. (I've never used a tripod with the siggy)

    These two shots were taken at 8am this morning with the 150-500, Hand Held, converted to black & white. A bit of a play with exposure and contrast, then resized for here


    _DSC6618
    by geoffsta, on Flickr


    _DSC6615
    by geoffsta, on Flickr

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    I didn't say that they were only any good for close shots. I said that long lenses are best used for taking shots where you can fill the frame with the subject without excessive ( or any ) cropping. Remember, a fairy wren, a football player and the moon are radically differing sizes.

    I reckon the same theory goes for just about all lenses though, the closer you are to the subject the better the image will end up being. Obviously you can't get any closer to the moon so a long tele is the way to go but when you use it is the key, the moon always looks enormous just as it rises so that is when the lens will work best. Generally the boundary fence is the closest that you get to football players in "action" so shooting footballers is best done when they are at a close distance relative to the length of lens you have. Birds and wildlife are the same, getting as close to them as the length of lens in use ( and safety ) allows to fill the frame with them is where the lens will work best to my way of thinking. Using a 500mm lens on a fairy wren at 10-15 metres or an elephant at 100 metres are all relative but to try to capture either at 500 metres and then crop the images will not result in the best images.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    Both the moon shots are also very soft, if that helps
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
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    I've got to agree with kiwi here. Handheld is not the way to go with these shots. I have a shot somewhere taken with the Sigma 50-500 and a 2xTC which I'll dig out and post for you Geoff. I always found the Bigma was best on at least a monopod, and better still on a tripod. Manual focus improved it even further. Your camera body will have some impact on that with the consumer bodies tending to struggle a little with AF.

    CRW_4901.jpg

    I also agree with IAM except the bit about shooting the moon when it's close to the horizon. It is far better to shoot it when it is elevated well above the horizon. The less atmosphere, dust, and haze you shoot through, the better will be the detail.
    Last edited by camerasnoop; 20-06-2011 at 12:11pm. Reason: Add Image

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    Thanks camerasnoop.
    I have a 1.4 teleconverter, but never used it on the sigma. Maybe I should give it a try.
    With the sigma 2 settings on the stabilization, doing sports shots. Which is the best setting. 1 or 2?

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    doing sports shots traditional thinking is (unless you are panning or using low shutter speeds < 1/250s) you should turn image stabilisation off.

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    Re moon shots, the longer the focal length, the better.

    I shot the moon at 600mm, and to give you an idea of how small the moon is, I have found that you can fit around 35 of them into the frame of a full-frame DSLR or film SLR. Seven across and five down. Approximately.

    Below are two of my moon shots. Both are 100% crops.

    What I just realised when viewing them together is that one is a lot larger than the other. The focal length and camera type were the same.

    Clearly during the eclipse, the moon was much closer to Earth. I guess that blows my '35 moons per frame' out of the water, as it all depends on the distance.


    There's a Full Moon Out Tonight



    Photographed at 8:01pm on 05/09/2009 with a Canon EOS 5D and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM +2.0x at 600mm for 1/125 sec at f/9 and ISO 100.


    Lunar Eclipse on 26 June, 2010



    Photographed at 9:16pm on 26/06/2010 with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM +2.0x at 600mm for 1/160 sec at f/8 and ISO 200.
    Last edited by Xenedis; 20-06-2011 at 3:38pm.

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    Thanks Xenedis.
    I take it that this was done using a tripod. I only used the moon shots which I took in daylight as an example, but by the look of these shots of yours I'll be up early in the morning with the tripod to test the tripod and converter.

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    Hey Geoff.

    Yep, I shot those images with the rig tripod-mounted.

    I also used mirror lockup and a remote release (or the countdown timer), and disabled IS on the lens (very important -- it does make a difference).

    Note that I used my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM. This is a seriously sharp lens. I cannot profess to know anything about the Sigma you have, but I suspect that the Sigma won't give you that level of sharpness and clarity.

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    Re image stabilization with long lenses, after reviewing thousands of long lens images made over an 8 month work trip, I've made a rule for myself with long lenses: only use IS at shutter speeds one stop slower than the reciprocal of the focal length or slower. Use of IS at faster speeds will result in loss of micro-detail. And if using IS, make many frames to snag a critically sharp one. (By the time you go through them all, it would have been quicker and easier to set up a tripod!)

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    I don't turn the Image Stabilizer off on my 600/4 unless I am specifically targeting birds in flights. And even then I forget and usually shoot BIF with the bloody IS on

    99.99% of the time I use a tripod.
    Chris

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    The size of the moon varies with its varying distance from the earth. (Its orbit is eliptical.) That it looks bigger when close to the horizon is a well-known optical illusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Both the moon shots are also very soft, if that helps
    I agree the shots are a bit soft

    Is it the lens?

    Regards
    Bodies : Canon 450D, Canon 7D
    Lenses : Canon 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM, Canon 100mm F2.8 Makro USM, Canon 24-70 L F2.8 USM, Canon 70-200 L F4, Canon 100-400 L F4.5-5.6L IS USM
    Editing : Photoshop CS5

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    +1 for the soft images... that doesnt mean that the siggy cant do sharp ones tho. also it focuses fine on objects close and far. cropping doesnt matter either... its all about learing how to use it best.
    a night time shot at 150mm

    500mm its not great but its ok. shooting the moon or anything astronomical you have to take into account what astronomers call "seeing"

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